A Conversation With…

Joe Marscio – Sometimes the best careers choose you

Turning down a position with the US Secret Service to maintain his role in loss prevention was a critical turning point in Joe Marsico’s professional career. Loss Prevention was an industry he happened to stumble upon but grew to view as a profession. Now as the Sr. Global Director of Security & Investigations at Nike, Inc; Joe leads the security program for one of the most visible and successful brands in the world. His success is a direct result of his hard work, business relationships and, most importantly, his loyalty.

Joe had originally planned on a career in law enforcement, so he attained a degree in Criminal Justice from Georgia State University. While in college, he took a job at Lord & Taylor Department Stores and began work as an undercover agent catching shoplifters. After graduation, he continued to pursue his original plan to join the United States Secret Service and went through a lengthy application and vetting process. While waiting for a spot to open up, Joe continued to work in Retail Loss Prevention and kept moving up the ranks at Lord & Taylor to become an area manager responsible for multiple stores in the Southeast. Eventually, after two years of waiting, the secret service had an opening, but Joe turned down the job.

“One day I got a call saying they had a spot for me in the next academy. During that lengthy waiting period there were a lot of changes in my life,” Joe says. “I was getting promoted, I had gotten married, I was in a different position and work was going really well. So, I turned it down to stay with retail loss prevention. At the time I thought I was making a huge mistake. It was not the career I envisioned, but it turned out to be great for me.”

After working for Lord and Taylor in Atlanta for a couple of years, he was promoted to District Manager for their Chicago area covering the Midwest market. One day, Joe received a call from a Nike recruiter, and gladly accepted the new position in New York City. A native of New Jersey, Joe was happy to be working closer to home while running Nike’s Loss Prevention program at their flagship store.

Over the next 12 years, Joe rose through the Nike Retail Loss Prevention ranks, holding the positions of Director of North America Loss Prevention and Global Director of Retail Loss Prevention. In 2010, Joe left Retail to assume the role of Assistant Director of Global Security for Nike, Inc. and in 2012 he was promoted again to the top job as the Sr. Global Director of Security & Investigations, a role that is challenging but also incredibly motivating.

“I am charged with creating the programs, policies and procedures that keep our employees and business operations safe and secure. I see it as an enormous responsibility for professionals in our industry,” Joe says. “Our leadership team relies on my organization to make sure that we are advising the businesses appropriately and that we are identifying the various threats and putting in the right protective controls.” “My team and I think about this responsibility every day; we take it very seriously.”

As Nike expands its global reach, Joe emphasizes the fact that prevention is important but realizes you are never going to prevent all bad things from happening. There needs to be a balance of proactivity, preparedness and readiness for security to work.

“Nike is a big company and expanding to parts of the world that pose higher levels of security risks, so the most challenging thing for me and the organization is to make sure we’re identifying the right sources of threat intelligence and staying a step ahead with the implementation of proper controls to protect our competitive advantage, our people, our ideas, and our material and physical assets.”

The tight circle of professionals and community feel of the LP and Security industry is what kept Joe on this career path. He hopes that those joining LP realize the importance of learning the business from the bottom up and Joe emphasizes the importance of investing enough time with a company where you feel there is the potential for upward advancement, even if it may take a while. “You never know what doors are going to open for you when you invest the time to really learn your craft and build solid relationships.”

Aside from work, he understands the importance of family and a balanced lifestyle. In his spare time, he practices Krav Maga, a system that relies on hand to hand combat for self -defense which he uses to stay healthy.

He also attributes his success to his wife who he believes has the toughest job of the two. “My wife works harder than I do running the house and taking care of the kids. I admire that because it is the work that goes unnoticed, but is so important.” Joe says. “Without that support, my success at work would not be possible.”

Through loyalty and hard work, Joe has achieved a challenging and rewarding position. Although working in loss prevention and corporate security was not originally in his career plans, he has grown to be a leader in his industry and now, a leader of security for a huge global company. “It is a constant challenge. I have never been busier in my entire career,” says Joe. “The issues can feel overwhelming at times, but I work for a fantastic company and I love the work that I do!”